Friday, February 04, 2011

science news

The Kepler planet-finding space telescope has provided the first strong evidence that habitable planets are common in our part of the galaxy. Some day maybe humans really will visit strange new worlds.

link to article in Science Daily

What would be even bigger news would be evidence of extra-terrestrial life on these planets. I expect this evidence to come within 7 years, when the atmospheric compositions of some of these planets are determined. An atmosphere that contains oxygen, carbon dioxide and water vapor would be strong evidence for the presence of photosynthesis. Earth's atmosphere contained no oxygen until oxygenic photosynthesis evolved about 2.6 billion years ago; its the oxygen gas that gives earth away as a life-bearing planet to a distant observer.